Why Choose American Studies?
What exactly is “America”? America as we’ve known it is changing. The nation is experiencing greater racial and ethnic diversity. Concerns about the environment, food and poverty, and sustainability are being addressed, and solutions sought. The public is demanding greater equality for all, regardless of sexual preference or socioeconomic status. American culture is becoming increasingly diverse and its population more transnational. What are the meanings and boundaries of American citizenship? Who is “American” and who determines this?
The Department of American Studies at KU engages you in these discussions to equip you with a broad understanding of history, society and culture so that you can intelligently participate in the complex issues of the present day. We offer you a major, minor or double major in American Studies, a minor in Latina/o Studies, and soon a minor in social justice. We’ll give you a sure footing in a diverse 21st century — one that demands critical skills in verbal and written communication and research, the ability to examine and understand varied perspectives, and multicultural and multinational awareness and understanding.
We interact with our community beyond the classroom, especially in areas of justice and civic engagement. For instance, one of our majors, Emma Halling, recently helped organize and lead the student demands for changes to KU’s sexual assault policy. Many current and former students and faculty members are involved in the local Just Foods, as well as the Sunrise Project and other activities to end hunger and provide affordable healthy foods to residents of Douglas County.
We don’t shy away from the hard questions. We engage in activities and difficult national conversations concerning ethnic and race relations, such as those in Ferguson, Missouri; workers’ rights and union labor; children and immigration; and even the decline in affordable housing for KU graduate students . Our alumni are employed in varied careers such as: book and magazine editing, journalism, social service work and administration, human resource management, sales and marketing, law, museums, public radio and other environments that are enriched by a liberal arts background.
Why choose American Studies? Because America is changing and you have an important part to play in our global future.
Jennifer Hamer, Professor and Chair